A few weeks ago, I listened to a talk on creativity that worship leader David Crowder gave at a conference. It was extremely ADD, but also informative and inspiring. It is always good to hear how other people approach their craft. I had many takeaways from his talk, but I think the most lasting and impactful was his reference to a book by Austin Kleon titled Steal Like An Artist. I quickly ordered Kleon’s book and waited impatiently for it to arrive so I could dig in. I was at a point of dryness in my creative life and desperately needed to be replenished. The book did not disappoint.
The book’s sub-title is 10 things nobody told you about being creative. I have a great appreciation for the way Kleon broadens his message to make it accessible and applicable to all types of people, not just artsy types. It makes his message more timeless and the reach of his influence much greater. A glance at the table of contents gives proof that Kleon’s work is for more than just traditional creatives:
Here’s a sample of what stood out to me:
· It is important to have hobbies and side projects of different types. By dabbling in a variety of activities, your creative juices are stirred, which enhances your work in other ventures. It also helps fight stagnation.
· Collaboration is incredibly important, especially with people more talented and experienced than you. At one point, Kleon mentions that if you find that you are the most talented person in the room, you should find a new room. By surrounding yourself with people better than you, you will get better.
· Enjoy and embrace boredom. Take time to breath and allow “time wasters” to happen. Instead of hopping on the smartphone during an elevator ride, take the opportunity to disconnect from the virtual world and live in the real world. Give your mind the space to just be. Engage in a conversation with someone next to you. Or just zone out for a second. As you do, you will find yourself with more inspiration and a greater capacity to create.
Steal Like An Artist is a fun, easy read that is capable of inspiring creativity in anyone regardless of their age, field of interest, or background. Kleon has done a masterful job of passing on the lessons he has learned for all to enjoy and apply. I highly recommend this book as your next read.